Dr. Undrah Baasanjav’s Groundbreaking Research in Mongolia

“This is an issue of information credibility and accuracy, and my research really only represents the surface of the ocean–there are a lot more layers of Internet infrastructure below our social media use.”

In an era of sharing news on social media platforms and with the credibility of news being questioned all around the world, how do we sort through and determine what is credible news, misinformation, or disinformation? Associate Professor in the Department of Mass Communications at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Dr. Undrah Baasanjav, is currently in Mongolia for research on her project, “News Resources and Information Credibility for Educational, Media, and Not-for-Profit Organizations in Mongolia.”

For the second time, Baasanjav has received a summer fellowship from the American Center for Mongolian Studies which is supported by the US Department of State and the Office of Education and Cultural Affairs (ECA). “Social media has become a major source of information for many Mongolians, and I would like to interview people in Mongolian educational, media, and not-for-profit organizations about their understanding of using social media platforms in their everyday practices,” said Baasanjav. Around 65-70% of the online activity in Mongolia happens through social media like Facebook and Baasanjav seeks to understand more about how the population uses and shares information on these platforms. “Few studies have investigated how cognizant Mongolians are of potentials and pitfalls of social media environments. Only anecdotal evidence suggests that the technologically utopian views and fascination with social media are widespread with little understanding of “algorithmic” or ideological biases on social media,” she commented.

As technology becomes more and more woven into our daily lives, research like Baasanjav’s becomes increasingly relevant around the world. Other areas of Baasanjav’s research include: international domain names, internet governance, digital television transition, and the gender aspects of online gaming. She recently returned from Washington D.C. where she gave a talk entitled, “Stability and Security of International Domain Names.” In June, she flew Mongolia to continue her research and this fall (Oct. 23), she will give a presentation on cyber-conflict and geopolitics to the Life Long Learners Community in Edwardsville.

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